The story about my 1969 RS Camaro began 34 years ago when I was 13 years-old. I went with my father one Saturday morning to do a favor for a family friend and haul an old car from behind his business to the junkyard. When we arrived, the old car was a 1969 Camaro in the weeds that had been sitting for 10 years. Over that time, the entire front end back to the windshield, engine, and wheels had been stolen or scavenged. The quarter panels were rusted out and weeds were growing through the passenger rear floor. However, the dark green interior, dash, console, glass, and rear end were intact.
I felt that this car deserved better than the junkyard, so I convinced my father that we should keep the car and I would make it my project car since I would be able to drive soon. Well, the Camaro came home with us and I spent the next 4 years working on the Camaro after school at night and on the weekends with my father in the barn and under the shade tree in the driveway. Since the build was funded by my part-time jobs working in a motorcycle shop parts room and at a local diner as a busboy, the budget was limited to say the least. We patched the floor panels and replaced the quarter panels as best we could. We modified a fiberglass flip front-end to replace the costly sheet metal and built a 400ci small block with 350 turbo transmission. We literally used saw-horses in the driveway under the shade tree as our lift. In the winters we used our barn and garage to keep warm while working. We were lucky enough to have a family friend with a body shop and paint booth help us with the final spray.
At age 17, the car was complete, and it became my “show car” and cruiser; this was my most prized possession. My father and I would take it to local car shows, and cruise nights. Taking the car to our local shows were some of the most memorable moments as we were so proud of what we had built.
Over the next 25 years after high school, the Camaro unfortunately sat dormant and neglected in my parents’ barn as I pursued my dream of becoming a doctor. I focused my time and attention on college, medical school, internship, residency, and fellowship. After my medical training, I built a successful practice in Interventional Radiology performing minimally invasive surgeries focusing on treating cancer, while simultaneously building a family with my amazing wife and 3 extraordinary children.
After my parents had died and I was settled with a successful career and family, I had to decide what to do with the Camaro. From years of sitting, the car had rusted again, the mechanical parts had deteriorated, the mice ate the wiring, and the squirrels had made it their home. The memories and sentimental value of the Camaro were too strong to let it go, so I decided this was my opportunity to re-make my dream car and create an heirloom for my family that could be enjoyed for generations in the future.
I brought the car to my garage and disassembled it with my sons and daughter to prepare for the next re-creation / rebirth of the Camaro. I soon realized the work I did when I was 13 years old, was good at the time, but had much room for refinement. Since I am a driving and racing enthusiast, I wanted to convert the Camaro into a modern-day performance car that could be enjoyed by the family for years to come. My goal became to re-create the Camaro into a perfect combination of the iconic styling of the classic 69 Camaro, but with the modern drive train, braking, suspension, and amenities that would rival any modern-day sports car.
In order, to realize this “re-birth” of the Camaro, I called upon Justin Brunner and his skilled team at Bent Metal Customs. After media blasting it became apparent the car required a significant amount of metal work, in order, to create the razor straight iconic 69 Camaro shape. Justin and his team spent countless hours replacing and expertly fitting the floor, firewall, dash, trunk pan, both rear quarters, and entire front-end sheet metal. Every inch of the car was expertly refined for a razor straight body and unsurpassed panel fitment. In the end, the fit and finish of the metal work gives the car a high-quality look and feel that will last long into the future. The body sits on Detroit Speed front sub-frame and rear Quadra-Link provide the stance and handling. Six piston Baer brakes provide the stopping power and Billet Specialty Hydro wheels sit at all four corners to keep the car hugging the road. The LS3 power plant from Schwartz Performance and 4L80E transmission provides reliable performance delivered to the pavement through the Moser 12 bolt rear. The body keeps the classic 69 Camaro lines with some touches of the classic trim. The engine compartment features an ultra-clean look with the smoothed firewall, relocated wiper motor by Rain Gear, custom engine covers, carbon fiber accents, and hidden wiring harnesses and plumbing.
The family decided on the paint colors to pay homage to the iconic orange 69 Camaro, but with a PPG Vibrant Series Orange Zest paint and charcoal grey stripes to compliment the wheels and add a modern touch to the paint scheme. The custom stripes combine features of the classic nose cone stripe and rally stripes into a modern version. The interior is a combination of original dash, console, gauges, and door panels with carbon fiber touches and custom black leather seats with orange, French stitch accents. The interior was made to be family friendly and comfortable for a run to the ice cream parlor, car show, or maybe even a track day.
Overall, the rebirth of my 1969 Camaro combines perfect proportions of classic and modern features; truly a “Modern Classic”.
- American Autowire - Wiring Harness
- Anvil Auto Inc. - Carbon Fiber Chin Spoiler, Front Bumper, Radiator Cover and Sideview Mirrors
- AutoMeter Products - Gauges
- Baer Brakes - Brakes
- Borla Performance - Pro XS Mufflers
- Bowler Performance - Transmission prep
- Concept ONE - Pulleys
- Detroit Speed, Inc. - Subframe and Quadralink
- Dynamat Inc. - Sound dampening material
- Fesler USA - Driving Lights and Tail Lights
- Forgeline Motorsports - Wheels: VX3C
- Gillin Custom Design - Interior
- Hankook Tire USA - Ventus V12 Tires
- IDIDIT, LLC. - Steering Column
- JRI Shocks - Shocks
- Marquez Design - Rear Bumper
- Moser Engineering - Rear End
- Optima Batteries - Yellow Top Battery
- PPG Industries Inc. - Paint
- Rain Gear Wiper Systems - Wiper Relocation
- Ringbrothers - Hood Hinges
- Ron Davis Racing Products - Radiator
- Roto-Fab - Engine covers and Plenum Cover
- Schwartz Performance - 525hp LS3
- Snappin Turtle Tie Downs - Tie Down Straps
- Ultimate Headers - Headers
- Vintage Air - Air Conditioning